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Full text of "A history of Persia"

384                  HISTORY OF PERSIA         CHAP.LXXIII
unspeakable treachery. In the end he mounted his horse
to escape, but the beast was hamstrung, and the last
Persian hero fell wounded into the hands of his deadly
foe. No mercy was shown by the victor. The gallant
Lutf All was blinded—according to one account, by the
very hands of the brutal Aga Mohamed—besides suffering
other indignities. He was then sent to Teheran, where
he was strangled.
The Fate of Kerman.—Kerman was treated with almost
inconceivable cruelty. Not only were its women handed
over to the soldiery, who were encouraged to rape and to
murder, but the Kajar victor ordered that twenty thousand
pairs of eyes should be presented to him. These he
carefully counted, and then he remarked to the officer
charged with the atrocious task, " Had one pair been
wanting, yours would have been taken ! " Thus almost
the entire male population was blinded, and their women
were handed over to the soldiery as slaves. In order to
commemorate the capture of Lutf Ali Khan in a suitable
manner, Aga Mohamed ordered six hundred prisoners to
be decapitated. Their skulls were then carried to Bam by
three hundred other prisoners, who were then also killed,
and a pyramid of skulls was erected on the spot where
Lutf Ali Khan was taken. This pyramid was seen by
Pottinger in 181 o. Kerman has never recovered. To-day
it possesses more beggars and suffers from greater poverty
than perhaps any other city in Persia.
The Downfall of the Zand Dynasty.—The awful
massacre and the extirpation of the family ended the
short-lived Zand dynasty. Lutf Ali possessed remarkable
beauty of physique, a valour which has seldom, if ever,
been exceeded, and leadership in the field of a very high
order. Unfortunately his severity and his imperious and
overbearing character, which would not allow him to stoop
to conciliation, cost him the support of the great families.
Fighting gallantly against hopeless odds, he long main-
tained the struggle, but in the end he lost the throne of
Persia to the rival Kajar chief.1
1 In the Introduction to The Dynasty of the Kajars, Sir H. Jones Brydges gives an
interesting account of the interviews he had with Lutf Ali Khan, who impressed him
most favourably.